Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Rebuilding, Restructuring, and Recreating

"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life." ~ J.K. Rowling

In my "first" post of this renewing of my blog, I talked a little bit about possibly having hit "rock bottom," That's a REALLY big term, right? Thinking about it, my "rock bottom" could just be a bump in the road of my life at this time, honestly. It's just that I've never quite felt mentally and emotionally like I do now; this is by far the most stressed and the most lonely and the most lost, so in the scheme of my own life, it has been pretty stinking bad.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing. I've found a great podcast, the Your Kick Ass Life podcast with Andrea Owen. One episode I recently listened to talks about "rock bottom" being the point at which you actually start to feel human again. You can't avoid your stresses and emotions and problems and loneliness anymore - you have to face them head on. And facing those things, breaking down, being forced to actually FEEL all of those things for REAL...that's a good thing. We learn a lot from it. We grow from it. We get stronger because of it, we build stronger and more meaningful relationships because of it. We know ourselves better, we can make better progress toward our goals, we can BE BETTER because of it.

That's where I'm hoping I am now. At the rebuilding point. Where I can cry and open up to my confidants, where I can learn that I'm not the only one who feels this way, and we're all in this together and we can do all of this grown up stuff that we have to do and it will all be okay. Just keep swimming...find your pod or tribe or gaggle, and keep going.

My problem has been that I can hardly even get out of bed in the morning. I flat out don't want to. And find myself without a reason to, until the very last second when I HAVE to or else I'll be late for work. So I'm barely on time for work. That's the ONLY reason I've found lately to actually get out of bed...just to not be late for work. And it feels shitty. There's got to be something more.

One of the things I started with this week was just making the bed in the morning. I have been saying I'm going to implement a whole morning routine, a la The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, and I even made my list of routine things I want/need to do, and was having a really hard time even getting myself out of bed. So, I needed a reason to actually get up. I'm still struggling with not hitting snooze for 40 minutes, but on Tuesday last week I snoozed and then when I got up, I made the bed. Then yesterday I did it again. Still snoozed, maybe five or ten minutes less...? Not sure. Every day since then, I've still snoozed (albeit less than I used to), but I've made the bed. Every single day since a week ago. Now it's Tuesday again, so this marks the 8th day in a row.

Making the bed is now a thing. It's a daily thing, and when I walk in the door at the end of the day and see the bed made, it is one less thing that used to be stressful for me to look at. The pillows aren't on the floor anymore, they're on the bed, that's made. And I love it.

That's all for now, friends! I'll be continuing this rebuilding theme for a while now, because that's where I'm at in my life, and I'm going to keep doing it. Every day the goal is: better than before. Now, go forth, friends, and be better than before!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Skimming the Surface of Adult Relationships

When we're kids, it's pretty simple:
Toddlers just wanna be all up in all the business. They're little sponges, soaking up interaction with any and all humans and animals and things that can fit in their mouths, and their brains love when they see a face that looks about the same age as them. Easy. Oh, we reached for the same cookie, you must like cookies, and now we're best friends sharing a cookie.
Your favorite color is the same as mine? OMG BFFs.
We're in the same class at school, or the same gymnastics class or on the same baseball team. Now we're friends.
Oh, you've got a skateboard, me too! Let's skateboard together. You like going down the slide? Awesome, we're friends.
You're my next door neighbor? Easiest access to friendship ever.

When it's not your responsibility to vacuum or wash the car or make the money for the household or cook dinner, you've got tons of free time. In fact, parents put us in sports and various neighborhood activities to socialize and make friends and it's EASY. Because it's laid out for us. We don't have to plan it, we just show up and BOOM. Friends. For the making. Which is awesome.

But now we're adults. We have the bills and the commute and the job and ALL OF THE LAUNDRY and cooking and and and...the responsibilities. Why is it that when we're kids, all we want to do is grow up? How could I have NOT become the well-adjusted adult that it seems like most people my age are at this point? I mean, maybe we all put on great acts. Fake it til you make it, right? I don't know. I do know a couple people have admitted to me they don't have it all together either, which is comforting but it's also kind of disturbing...we can't be the only four people our age in the world who appear to have it together but who are literally breaking on the inside...? Right? WHERE ARE ALL OF YOU?! Come forth, let's band together and make it better.

Amidst all of the adulthood happenings, some relationships have faded away or imploded, some have remained steady or gotten stronger, and some new ones have come into the picture. Family relationships, friendships, romantic relationships.

Relationships change over time. Some things feel familiar and awesome, like being BFFs since high school or even before. Or like my relationship with my brother, which has actually changed for the better over the years. But learning how to be an adult in the presence of your parents, to whom you'll always be their child, is really hard. Knowing and being honest about what YOU really want, in light of the fact you've never actually made any important decisions for yourself your entire life (see previous post)...that's hard y'all.

Making new friendships and trying to fit them into the way your life has drifted together thus far is also really hard. We always seem to find friendships based on our life's categories, like where we work, whose parents are in our kids' playgroup or school class, etc. Which makes sense, right? But what if I'm the owner and leader of my business, therefore kind of a lone wolf, and crossing a certain line of friendship with employees is unprofessional? What if I don't want kids, so I'm never going to go to the playground or drop them off at preschool? Making new friends who fit into how our life is, is hard. I enjoy meeting new people, but man...it's really hard to sufficiently maintain different relationships. Am I seriously the only one having these life troubles?

I'm having a hard time expanding my network and making new friends while also maintaining my "tribe." I'm at this place where I'm actively becoming a person who is very different than I was a few years ago, and the transition is really difficult. I fully realize and admit that this is happening to me WAY LATER IN LIFE than it probably happened to you (either that, or you'll all come to this realization when you're like 50). I discussed this in the previous post - I was in school for 22 out of my 31 years of life. So maybe that has played a role, I assume it probably does, because like the first season of Grey's Anatomy pointed out: when you're in school for the majority of your life, you're socially and romantically awkward. You've aged to the point of being an adult, but you haven't had the social interactions that adults outside of school have had. It's like childhood extended because you're with the exact same small group of people who happen to be in the same place as you doing the same activity...so the friendship or whatever relationship is sort of the default. You don't have to actively seek out and carve out special time for those who are important to you, because they're already right there. And in my case, keeping in touch with those people I had in my life before professional school wasn't all that hard - I lived 1700 miles away from where I had lived my entire life, so phone calls and Skype were what I had. I did learn about who back home still felt I was important in their lives, that's for sure. And I was super busy with school...with all of the people who were becoming my new, additional friends. The relationships with whom are actually really hard to maintain after we've all scattered across the country. So there's that, too. I miss them and it's hard.

Rather than rambling on and on about all of the above for longer than you care to continue reading, I'll cut to what I think I could do better, and some things that are on my personal development/goals list.

I have been using this planner called the Spark Notebook by Kate Matsudaira, At the end of last year, there were some emails she sent out to those of us who ordered the Kickstarter version of her 2016 planner, and the emails were basically four weeks of wrapping up 2015 and how to make 2016 a kick-ass year. Among various brainstorm/idea pages with life values and goals and assessment of "why," one of the pages wanted me to list the people who were the most important to me in my life. Those with whom I have a relationship that I truly value, with whom the relationship truly supports my life goals for the long term. This might not seem like a big deal to some of you, but my list was pretty enlightening. And I realized that some of those people were floating in the breeze, I haven't been in touch with them for entirely too long. I miss them. I value our relationship, but I haven't maintained contact with some of these people, and I NEED to.

So, one of my goals for this year is to practice good correspondence. Who's addicted to super cute stationary packs in the dollar zone at Target? Who picks up cute notecards in the clearance bins at the craft store? Who loves papercrafting (another one of my goals is to make time and space for more crafting) and making cards for birthdays and holidays? THIS GIRL. I have a ridiculous amount of stationary and card making/papercrafting supplies. I think I mentioned in one of my posts from a few years ago that I could probably open my own Hobby Lobby with all my own craft supplies, and a lot of that is for papercrafting. So, let's put it to good use! Keep in touch with the people who matter! They need to be told they're important to me just as much as I want to know how they're doing and what's going on in their lives.

That's one thing I can do to try to maintain adult friendships, is keep in touch with those who matter, no matter how far away we are geographically. In 2016, it really doesn't matter how far away we are anymore, given all the ways we can keep in touch now.

That's all for now, friends. Hope you found the little bit of optimism in this post, I'm trying to end this on a positive note rather than just keep ranting :P Enjoy the beautiful weather this week (I'm in the PNW, and it's just gorgeous right now)!

Next time I'll delve into more grown-up ish, and keep digging out from under the avalanche. Until next time, friends, thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

How Did I Get Here?

It's been forever since my last post. I no longer have a Birchbox subscription, nor do I get Stitch Fix anymore. After Birchbox, I switched to Ipsy, and I don't even get that anymore. Those were sort of my go-to post topics, and I didn't even keep up on those regularly. So I figure it's probably time to start anew here, and I think what I'm going to do is write about my life and the things that have been going on. Deeper topics, not fashion or cosmetics samples. LIFE. The important stuff.

I'm not sure how exactly to get started with that, but basically this is just a post declaring that it's going to happen. Life is changing A LOT right now, in fact it's been changing for a couple of years now. Some good things, some bad things, and some things that are down right rock bottom thus far in my life.

I will say, however, that I think things are finally on the uptick...I mean, there's only one way to go once you've hit bottom, right? That's what I've heard anyway, when people have referenced addiction or abuse or anything like that. Now, to clarify (upcoming posts will be more revealing with details), I am not an addict and I am physically fine - this is not an emergency, I do not need an intervention or a hospital or anything else. I just have hit two recent periods of absolute extreme stress that I was not equipped to handle as an adult.

Let's back up for a minute - how is one "not equipped" to handle the stresses of adulthood? A lot of reasons, I'm sure I'm going to miss a bunch, but these are some possibilities for my own life and my own struggles with being an adult:

1.  I was super sheltered and relatively privileged as a kid. No struggles. Safe. Never took risks. I DO NOT DENY that that was my childhood. I don't know a lot about all the struggles and adversity that a lot of people have experienced. Super sheltered. Lots of taboo topics, issues, activities, events, etc. I never had to be uncomfortable. I'm really compassionate, but I'm probably one of the most sheltered people you'll meet.

2.  I'm REALLY indecisive. Most of that is probably because that's my personality, but there are definitely some environmental influences on personality (no matter how big or small). If you don't believe that...well, I'll respectfully but strongly disagree with you. The other part is probably just that I never had to be decisive, per se. Just went down the path that was set forth, asking no questions. If I did ask a question, the answer was "that's just what you do."

3.  I quite literally just learned (and I'm still learning and trying to figure this out) how to make a budget. Yes, you read that correctly. They don't teach it in school (I didn't learn it at home), and I've been in school pretty much my entire life until three years ago. And by then I was married. He was doing all of that for us. Now I have a business to run and I'm just starting to get the basics down. I never had to do it until I owned a business. This is a BASIC LIFE SKILL that I basically didn't even hardly know about at all. Had no clue how complicated it could be, or how many different ways to do it that exist, or anything. Great.

4.  Sh*t is complicated, y'all. Have you tried shopping for an individual health plan (most of you probably have an employer or spouse's employer who handles the majority of this for you...)?! Are you actually kidding me right now? There is absolutely NO WAY you can POSSIBLY compare various plans to each other. It's literally comparing apples to bananas to spaghetti squash. And the truth is, it's actually designed that way, which makes it even more frustrating. It's a confuse-opoloy. As a consumer, it's literally not even fair. What about taxes? Maybe you use TurboTax for your individual or joint return if you can do a simple 1040. Own a small local business with hundreds of thousands in cash flow per year and a few employees (and you're not actually an accountant)? GOOD LUCK. There's tens of thousands of pages of tax code, most of which should just be sent up in flames anyway, to be honest. Sure, some stuff is easy like just making sure the electric bill for your apartment is in your name. Great. Done. But there are a lot of things that are just complicated in life that I just wish I could ignore or do without, but because of adulting, must actually be dealt with. Those were just a couple examples. You catch my drift.

So those are a few of the reasons I feel I'm finding myself in my current position. Feeling really lonely. Feeling really inadequate. Flat out not good enough. Not smart enough. Not productive or efficient enough. I feel totally naive and uninformed and confused. Like I'm literally not equipped to be an adult. Like, who allowed me to be an adult? Clearly I wasn't ready, but now it's too late, right? This is where I am right now.

This is the jumping off point of my new life. The snowball started forming a couple years ago. It started rolling down the hill when I bought the business about a year ago. It became an avalanche about six months ago. And here we are. Here I am.

Thanks for reading, y'all. All three of you...haha. I know that was pretty depressing and sounded a whole lot like a pity party...but if you, too, feel like you're alone in this whole adulting thing, be assured I'm right here with you. Read along, friend, and we can get through this avalanche aftermath together.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

New Year Updates - A Little Late! Plus: RODAN + FIELDS!

Oh, dear readers, January went by SO fast! What a crazy month.

Let me start off by letting you all know I put on my big girl pants right after the new year, and finally fired my SEO company that I was using to help run my (not awesome) business website. Not only did I constantly battle with the company who built my website to try to get things done and improved and actually working, I was also constantly battling with my SEO company - just to get them to return an email in a timely manner...! What the heck?! Whatever happened to decent customer service? Not to mention it was a HUGE expense with literally zero return on investment. Because I was referred to these two companies by a colleague, I stuck with them for WAY too long and didn't do a lot of shopping around in the first place, which was a huge mistake. I definitely learned the hard (and expensive) way. But, I will say this: LESSON LEARNED. I'm taking a break from SEO companies for a while, and in the last few months I have talked to a handful of other options (who will also help rebuild my website), and I do have one in particular that I am interested in working with - but they know I was basically scammed the first time around and I'm super skeptical now of all the techies out there - so he's understanding, and has actually given me some advice and tips without me even being a paying client, so that definitely helps. The good (or maybe not so good?) news is that his criticisms of my website from the back end are almost THE EXACT SAME THINGS I BATTLED WITH MY PREVIOUS COMPANY OVER for so many months. So I WAS RIGHT. Just saying.

Putting those big girl pants on felt REAL good. It may have been the thing that renewed the fire under my booty to look for other part-time job opportunities again, to get out of my corporate situation. Those of you who know me also know what my employment situation is - for those of you who don't know me, I'm sorry but I am not going to name specific companies (as my SEO experience above) or the corporation I work for part time; I'd like to save the biased slander. Anyway, here I am, at a local coffee shop typing up my blog when I should probably be doing some more networking and everything again for other job options - which I will do, don't worry. I actually made some really great progress last week that I'm going to follow up on this week. So there :)

In addition to other dental opportunities, I'm also gearing up to become a consultant with Rodan + Fields! I've done the Mary Kay thing before, and the biggest setback I had was hosting the parties. Wow. Talk about time-consuming. To first invite enough people that there will be at least a handful who actually show up, to make sure to get RSVPs, then to actually do the party, then to follow up with everyone...I couldn't do it during dental school. And because I didn't have a customer base in the area where I went to dental school, it was super hard - no one from school is interested in that kind of thing, and that's almost the only people I met until I started going to my gym. Anyway, it was hard. It's great for some women, just not for me. I love the product also, as I've been using it for over fifteen years, and I still use a lot of it every day. But I am transitioning.

If you've been following along with my skin care and make-up trials and reviews (I didn't post a ton, but a few), you know that my skin got WEIRD when I went off birth control a year and a half ago. I couldn't stand it. It was the worst it's ever been, including during those awkward early- to mid-teen years. Yes, it was worse than that. What happens in our late 20's that makes this happen...? Maybe it was exclusively that I had gone off birth control and my hormones never adjusted back fully, or maybe I could have done something with my diet and made it even cleaner than it was before, or maybe I was trying too many different new things that my skin was like WHAT THE HECK, or maybe it was something else entirely.

I went back on birth control about six months ago. I'm still on the fence about whether I want to be taking exogenous hormones or not, but emotionally and for my skin, this is the best thing right now. Oh ya, that's the other thing - when I was off it, my brain and emotions were INSANE. Literally insane. Even though I'm back on it again, I still feel like something isn't really back to the way it used to be before I decided to bugger everything up. Maybe I need ACTUAL THERAPY?! Not to make light of the topic, because hey - a lot of people need therapy these days, and I might just be one of them.

I digress.

So, a girl I went to dental school with introduced me to the below products:

The entire product line is made by the dermatologists who developed Proactive, which I never used because it is SUPER harsh. Everyone I know who has ever used it or is using it has recognized this fact as well. You have to wean yourself onto it and wean yourself off of it when you decide to use grown-up skin care products, it stings something horrible, and the lotion discolors your towels and pillowcases. So I was a little skeptical about the Rodan + Fields skin care line because of that - but they have four different formulas, an Essentials line (with things like microdermabrasion and body lotion and lip balm), and also some tools like the ultrasonic microscrubber and topical applications of vitamins for use overnight, and even oral supplements and mineral powder foundation. It's not a HUGE product line, but it definitely has you covered for whatever regimen you need.

I've been using the Soothe formula the last couple of days because I have really sensitive and pretty dry skin. It feels great, it doesn't feel like it does when I normally try something new - stings, doesn't soak in, etc. This line of products has been amazing so far. My skin doesn't feel tight in the morning, or flaky throughout the day, and some of the uneven coloring has evened out a little bit already!

I'm excited to try out more of the products, and also to start the business side of it. Apparently it's really easy, and with the company's empty-bottle-60-day guarantee, there really isn't such a thing as an unsatisfied customer. With fairly minimal investment, and the discount I will get on my own product, it will pay for itself quickly anyway, so if it doesn't work out - it doesn't work out and no one's hurt! OH, that's another thing - I don't have to track or store ANY inventory! All orders ship directly from the company in a couple of days, all I will have to do is help customer submit orders. That tends to be the hardest thing about direct sales - storing and tracking inventory. This goes for all sorts of direct sales, like other cosmetics and skin care, candles, stamps, scrapbooking, jewelry...you name it. There's always an inventory to manage. Not Rodan + Fields. I like it already :)

I'll keep you all posted on how that goes - it might be a couple more months until my next post, that seems to be my MOA lately. Well y'all, until next time...cheers!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Crafting!

WOW! It has been SO long since my last published post...if you actually read my stuff, thank you, and I apologize it's been so long. I appreciate that you actually check out my posts 

All of you three readers know how much I love crafting, so you're not going to believe me when I tell you it had been literally months since I had gone to the craft store for more than just one specific item. Well, I went about two weeks ago and had an amazing time. I was there for over two hours! I think I circled the entire store at least three times, and perused several sections more than that. It was fantastic. I got some great ideas for projects I wanted to do, and got some supplies for a few of them and additional supplies to add to my armamentarium at home (like the jewelry findings and gift ribbon). The photo below is only about 3/4 of what I bought, because I got multiples of some things and I did get more jewelry making supplies but it would have been hard to see what they really were anyway. 

So the yarn is going to be for a scarf; I need a brown scarf and have a pretty hard time finding exactly what I want and then have a hard time justifying buying it because I can make it...we've had this conversation before! The green scrap fabric is this really thick upholstery-type fabric almost, and I'm going to use it to cut out a mini tree skirt for our tiny table-top Christmas tree...if I ever get around to putting it up this year...haha! The beeswax is for candles, lip balms, and lotion bars. The feathers are for all sorts of things, but I saw these amazing ornaments at a store down the street (very posh home decor...) and couldn't bring myself to buy them - they had cool pheasant feathers and they were really neat blown glass shapes...so I thought, I'll just make something similar. I got some clear glass ornaments on the local Buy Nothing Facebook page, and put a few feathers inside each one. Similar enough, and super easy and cheap - not like the $30+ ones at the home store down the street! 

The little package of the mini trees and wreath was SO cute, I just had to come up with a project for it. I first thought I'd do a shadow box type of project with them, holiday themed of course, but I couldn't find quite the right type of box I was thinking of. I wanted to decorate them somehow, so I got some really small fake pearl beads to glue on like they were ornaments or something. I got the moss to go in the bottom of whatever form of diorama I ended up making with the trees. Fast forward a couple days, I was at the Goodwill in the Central District (the best Goodwill ever, their Seattle Flagship store), and I found the perfect jar for the project! Just big enough for both of the little trees and the wreath, and just the right price - $2.99. I also scored some other amazing finds at Goodwill that day - love when that happens!

So below is the in-process photo, working on gluing the little pearl beads on the trees and wreath.

Yes, I still use Elmer's Glue, haha! Below was the part when I was trying to figure out if the trees were going to be very stable on the moss in the bottom of the jar, and just how much moss I should use and what would look good.

The two photos below are the finished product! I put three of the little feathers in the bottom as well, to add some more nature feel to the whole thing. I used clear fishing line to hang the wreath, and wound the end of it around the hardware that holds the lid on. The trees aren't standing perfectly straight up, but they weren't actually perfect even before I glued them to the moss, so I figured it would just have to work as long as they don't actually tip over.

So, there you have it! One of several project ideas I had while at the craft store, and the only one that's actually come to fruition so far. But I do have some hope that I'll actually get the tree skirt done and get our mini tree put up...and maybe the stockings too.

Well, thanks for reading friends! Until next time, and hopefully it won't be so many months until the next post! I honestly think about it, and have written several draft posts about some more serious life topics, but haven't actually posted them publicly. Hopefully following this holiday season I can increase my post frequency for you three readers ;)

Merry Christmas!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hemp Milk and Multicultural Curls

Well hello friends!

It's been a while since my last post and I think I have even skipped a month of Birchbox product reviews. Here's why: I haven't been all that impressed with Birchbox lately. I love the idea. But my products started getting uninteresting to me. So I logged in and updated my preferences and profile, and I hope by next month I start getting products that I'm more interested in. I was getting too many hair products and body products that I don't use a whole lot, so I just sort of lost interest for a bit. 

This month's box came last week, here's a pic: 

The theme was travel or something, so there was this passport thingy with a little quiz and info on how to enter a drawing for a travel certificate. Anyway, I'm going to quickly talk about a couple of the product samples. 

The benefit They're Real! mascara is great - I've used it before, so this wasn't a new thing for me. I don't like the ingredients, but as a mascara in general, it's AMAZING. It defines individual lashes, makes them look like twice as long, and lasts all day and into the night. It will come off with lots of regular eye makeup remover, just be patient and switch to a new cotton ball when one is saturated. It literally makes your natural lashes look like you're wearing falsies, which you don't have to do with this mascara. That being said - I have pretty long and full eyelashes already, so I would be interested to hear from someone who has thinner and less full lashes. 

The lotion: 

The smell was nice without overpowering, not a horrible ingredients list, and it was nice and thick without feeling greasy. I think I got about three evenings of use out of the sample size, applying to hands and arms and legs and shoulders. It was about the size of a hotel lotion sample. Pretty good. 

The hair product:

At first I was like "hmm, ok, I don't really have 'multicultural' hair," whatever it was referring to. I'm pretty darn white. With pretty darn white-girl hair. THIS IS THE BEST HAIR-SCRUNCHING PRODUCT EVER. No lie. This is amazing. Use a quarter size amount for almost-shoulder-length damp hair, let dry. This is fabulous. I've tried fancy scrunching creams, cheap scrunching sprays and all variety of styling mousses. This is the best. Whether I have "multicultural" hair or not, (and I know the package says it's really for all textures) I am seriously considering purchasing this product. I haven't worn my short hair in scrunched curls very often because I couldn't find a product that was sufficient in terms of weight, texture, doing what it says it does, holding curls all day, etc. Love this product. Buy it; I'm about to. Oh, and the size of the sample is HUGE! I thought I'd have to use a lot of the product, but I didn't, so now I've used it like four times and have at least enough for four more uses probably. Amazing. 

As far as the other two products:
One is a shower gel, smells nice but I prefer Dr. Bronner's Castile soap. The sample size was really nice too, a little jogger than standard hotel sample size. 
The last item, the tiniest little tube in the photo of my whole box, is some wrinkle serum or something. I've used it but cannot speak to it's efficacy as the size of the sample is too small and I always forget to use it consistently. It's really smooth and doesn't smell bad or anything, both characteristics are sometimes hard to find. 

HEMP MILK. I am loving it. I use a brand called Tempt, unsweetened and without added flavor like vanilla or anything. I needed something to put in my tea when I worked one of the public health clinics last week, and I had a bunch of almond milk at home already so I thought I'd try hemp milk. I like this brand because, unlike every other brand of hemp milk, it does NOT have carageenan. Hemp milk is a bit thicker than almond milk (a huge plus for me, because my tea additive of choice is still heavy cream!) and tastes a but more earthy. Oh, and the reason I don't just use heavy cream is because I am doing the Whole30 for the month of June. So that means no dairy. 

So the other day I tried making my own little "creamer" by mixing half almond milk and half hemp milk, and have been trying it in a few different teas that I drink. It's working quite nicely as a universal dairy- and chemical-free creamer. 

There you have it! Thanks for reading, and until next time - make sure to schedule at least one weekend this summer where you can unplug. As soon as this post goes live, I'm off until Sunday. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kickstarter: Barbell Apparel

Hey all of you three readers, I've got something I just HAVE to share with you. THESE JEANS. Barbell Apparel looks pretty stinking awesome, if you ask me.

I think most of us will readily admit to despising that event that must happen every couple of years...jeans shopping. Find your new favorite pair, buy two or three or eight of them, and then one day after you've started your new fitness regimen or had a baby or changed jobs or ate four bites of cake...BAM, your faves no longer fit. Better yet, you think they fit, and then you reach down to pet the dog and you hear that ominous "rrrriiiiiipppppppp." Threads shredding, splitting open the crotch or backside or even the knee. Then you spend a half hour changing your outfit to go with yoga pants instead of jeans just so you can go to the mall and curse at every single pair of jeans you try on. Best. Day. Ever. NOT.

For those of us who aren't built like toothpicks but aren't thick-boned either...you know, the right-in-the-middle-average-but-no-one-makes-clothes-for-the-average...it sucks. I'm sure it can suck for either end of the spectrum as well, but seriously, how many women are ACTUALLY the exact same pants size between their waist and their hips? My guess: not very many.

I found a great pair of Levi's at Costco once. It was great, they fit perfectly for like five years, and after I wore them for the first week I went back to buy another pair. They were less than $20, which, for favorite jeans, is unheard of. Recently I have tried on every single pair of Sevens and Levi's that Costco has had over the last year, and NONE OF THEM fit right. Banana Republic and Ann Taylor usually have pants that fit me pretty nicely, but jeans? Forget it. Paige Denim makes a pretty nice pair for curvy girls, but they're over $150 a pair, so that's kind of like saying, "hey, you're average so we're going to charge a premium because we can." And that's annoyingly expensive. I have a pair of them, but I definitely do not plan on buying a second pair, at least not for a very long time.

About a year ago I started really lifting - I mean, increasing my personal records by leaps and bounds, getting way stronger. Not just toned, actually making strength progress. I'm talking about going from squatting barely 45 lbs (on a "strong" day) to squatting my body weight plus 10 lbs, on a regular basis. Bench pressing, dead lifting, etc, all hitting personal records.

So, what happens when you really drop it like a squat?! It shows. Mostly in your butt. And you split the crotch of almost every pair of jeans you own, unless they're super stretchy or way too big to begin with. Which, I suppose, is entirely possible, because you will definitely reduce your pants size if/when you start lifting - and that's a promise. [Suggested reading: 10 Pounds Down (And Counting). Side note: Jen Sinkler is fantastic.]

The problem is, when your waist starts shrinking and you lose a bunch of body fat from lifting, usually your butt stays about the same, or gets a little bigger - only this time around, it's getting super muscular in addition to storing some necessary body fat (because that's just where women store it). So your pants don't fit anymore. Your waist is smaller, but you can't get those size 4s past your mid-thigh because you're strong. Your muscles are going to split those pants. Damn it. So you try the next size up, and a 6 snugly fits up around those thighs and booty, but then you get a nice big gap at your lower back and you're showing everyone your plummer's crack. And belts just end up looking stupid at that point, because they just make your pants bunch up all over the place and then you're not comfortable anyway.

The solution: Barbell Apparel's jeans.

I'm so stoked to try these jeans!!! The Kickstarter campaign ends on Sunday the 25th, so if you are so inclined you better become a backer SOON! I chose the two-pair plus t-shirt option, because I wanted both the women's skinny and the women's bootcut pairs. They don't ship until July, and just thinking about waiting any longer is killing me. I have one pair of jeans that sort of fits and doesn't have a rip in it. I need to expand my casual wardrobe options, people.

I need these jeans. And I bet you or someone you know could love these jeans as well.

Happy jeans shopping, friends! (Ha, ha, ha) I'm really hoping the Barbell Apparel jeans will be the end of my jeans-shopping misery!